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Monday, September 12, 2016

Ambulance service hailed for good practice

TWO Welsh Ambulance Service initiatives that help patients in need of mental health care and end of life care have been recognised as examples of good practice.

The Trust’s Mental Health Pathway and End of Life Care Project have both been listed on the Social Care Institute of Excellence’s website.

It comes after submissions were invited to highlight work that has raised awareness and improved implementation of the Mental Capacity Act.

Clinical Support Officer Edward O’Brian, said: “It’s fantastic for the Trust to be recognised nationally and for these initiatives to be published on the Social Care Institute of Excellence’s website.

“A simple pathway has been designed by the Trust to improve the quality and clinical appropriateness of care provided to mental health patients that access the ambulance service.

“The primary aim of the pathway is to better assist those who need an urgent mental health assessment.

“A further aim is to prevent those whose care needs are of a less urgent nature being left waiting for hours in Emergency Departments and then subsequently being discharged.

“When a paramedic is on scene with a patient they can ring the Mental Health Crisis Team and a joint decision is then made as to the best course of action for that patient which would lead to one of three possible outcomes.

“The first would be to leave them at home with signposting to relevant services and the second would be to convey them to the Emergency Department if an underlying medical condition is suspected.

“The third would be a situation in which the patient is deemed to be in need of urgent mental health support. In this case they would be taken directly to a mental health facility.”

The End of Life Care Project aims to prevent unnecessary and unwanted hospital admissions for patients receiving end of life care that access the ambulance service.

Edward, who is also the Trust’s End of Life Care Lead, said that 999 is often accessed for end of life care patients who are suffering from an increase in their symptoms.

He said: “Prior to the Trust making these changes ambulance clinicians have often had to convey these patients to hospital in order to manage their symptoms when they would much rather be at home with their families.

“The Trust has introduced mandatory training in recognition and management of specific symptoms that are often seen in end of life care.

“Clinicians can now provide further treatment by using additional medications within patients’ own homes, thus preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.

“By controlling these symptoms at home patients can then remain at home which is often their preferred place of care.”

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